Yup, I remember. I started programming in the days of VESA VBE 1.2.
Originally posted by Bubba
...but there were some standardized VESA and VBE functions that would allow you to parse the available modes for that card. As well you could find out the RGB structure (555, 565, etc.) for the different modes.
So once you wrote the startup code for the video cards using VESA and VBE most of it was pretty standard from then on - that is once VESA and VBE became 'standardized'.
I dunno, I think WinAPI or at the least, MFC (preferably both) is just something a Win32 programmer should know. Learning to write programs for your OS should just be the logical progression of programming. I think that people that want to "jump the gun" and move to graphics without mastering their OS first aren't following a wise strategy.
The one major downfall I can see with the current setup is that it is harder IMO for a newcomer to learn graphics programming. Before they even begin they are inundated with a lot of C++ code and Windows bloat which can be intimidating. I'm glad I learned in DOS - the 3D knowledge that I gained by having to 'do it all from scratch' has really helped me in DirectX.